Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards

Argumentum ad Temperantiam brings REPS to its knees

Also known as "middle ground" or "appeal to moderation" logical fallacies:

When a similar bill filed this session was voted down in committee, Hager added the substance of the bill as an amendment to Regulatory Reform Act of 2015. Hager’s amendment capped the requirement at 6 percent and set it to expire altogether in 2018.

After push back from supporters of renewable energy, a compromise amendment approved late Wednesday caps the rate permanently at 6 percent and repeals an 80 percent property-tax break that solar farms and facilities now receive. “It saves REPS but freezes it,” said Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford), who fought to establish the standards in 2007.

I would never dream of questioning or advising Pricey on legislative matters or environmental issues. That being said, it's my understanding that Hager's amendment (which, as a bill, couldn't make it out of Committee) was withdrawn when this "compromise" amendment was accepted. Meaning an amendment with a questionable chance of passing on the floor served as a "lever" to swing votes for this other, less damaging amendment. Here's a question for lawmakers: If either of these amendments were put forward by themselves, where no comparisons or compromises were involved, would either have passed?

Jeter amendment guts Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard

Common sense gets lost in the crossover shuffle:

The proposal introduced Wednesday night as an amendment to House Bill 760, a regulatory reform measure, would cap the REPS requirement at 6 percent permanently and would allow a utility to claim energy-efficiency savings for up to half of that requirement. Power companies could seek reimbursement from ratepayers for any investments or contracts they've already entered into in order to meet the higher renewables requirements that the proposal repeals.

The measure would also repeal an 80 percent property tax break that solar farms and facilities currently receive.

And this amendment passed 98-18, meaning a whole lot of Democrats have some explaining to do.

NC's wildly successful REPS law under attack

And big surprise, Mike Hager is leading the charge:

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, called REPS, was the first in the Southeast when lawmakers adopted it in 2007. The law says utilities have to generate increasing amounts of energy from the sun, wind and organic wastes, or from energy efficiency. It set an ultimate green-energy target of 12.5 percent of retail sales by 2021.

A bill sponsored by two chairs of the House Public Utilities committee and Majority Leader Mike Hager cuts that target by half. It makes the final target 6 percent, this year’s benchmark, and ends the mandate in 2018.

Most of you are probably aware of what our Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard is and what it does, but for those who aren't, I talked about this on our radio program five years ago (about the 18 minute mark). The program was already working well back then, but I wouldn't have dreamed it could be where it is today. In a time when most government programs fall well short of their original goals, to tear down one of the few that actually works the way it's supposed to is just plain stupid. And so is smothering this kind of needed rural revenue:

NC's offshore wind energy moving forward

With some nudging from President Obama:

The North Carolina lease is part of the Obama Administration’s Smart from the Start offshore wind energy initiative, which aims at coordinating and streamlining development of designated Wind Energy Areas (WEAs).

The WEAs for North Carolina were designated last summer pending a final environmental assessment. For those of you keeping score at home, the total comes to more than 300,000 acres divided among three parcels: Kitty Hawk (122,405 acres), Wilmington West (51,595 acres), and Wilmington East (about 133,590 acres).

North Carolina is currently ranked #4 for new Solar PV installation, but we could (very easily) also be ranked #1 for offshore wind in the very near future. But we can expect some pushback from the fossil fuel industry, which has its hands way up the skirt of our General Assembly. Be ready to march. And when the doubters start turning up their noses, tell them this:

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